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Cool Thing of the Week

ActBlue and Facebook have more in common than a shared love of compound words: we’ve both created a space for people to make their passions known. With that in mind, it seemed only natural that ActBlue should have a Facebook page.

So take a minute of your Friday afternoon to become a fan of ActBlue on Facebook, and, of course, tell your friends!

We know that you have a lot on your plate, so the ActBlue Facebook page will be the place to read our blog entries and find out about the latest ActBlue news. It has a handy link to our Twitter feed, so you can find out what’s happening in real time.

You’ll also notice a new feature on your ActBlue contribution forms. Effective immediately, you’ll be able to share your donation on Facebook and Twitter. After you donate, just click on the appropriate button (see example below) and you can share your donation with your friends and followers.


ActBlue will automatically generate a wall post or tweet, which you can edit as normal. Furthermore, if you gave through a fundraising page with a thermometer, that thermometer will be appended to your wall post and your friends can join your fundraising effort with a single click:

What does Monk Elmer, a first time Democratic candidate running against a 32 year Republican incumbent in a state senate district in Wisconsin, have to do with ActBlue’s landmark $100 Million fundraising milestone?

According to our records, it was a donation to Monk Elmer’s campaign that pushed us past $100 million! A physician, Elmer just launched his campaign (and has raised over $1,000 on ActBlue). He was recently profiled by his local WI paper, the Post-Crescent where you can learn more information about his background, issues, and how he got the name “Monk”.

It’s not entirely surprising that such a landmark contribution comes from one of of the many state district level candidates that use ActBlue. In fact, it’s candidates like Dr. Elmer which are why we work so hard to democratize fundraising and offer online fundraising tools to support thousands of Democratic campaigns.

Congratulations Monk Elmer- this graphic is all yours.

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Anyone can create a personal fundraising page at ActBlue. As a result, there are a lot of people who like to get the political system a little shaken up and bring new money into politics via a personalized ActBlue page. Others are stirred into action at the bequest of someone else's ask to donate through their page.

But whether you are shaken or stirred into political action, ActBlue is ready and waiting for everyone.

And that means everyone- including James Bond.

Those of you with a golden eye may have noticed that 1990's James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and his wife are hosts of an ActBlue fundraising events page for a Democratic candidate in California's 35th State Assembly District. Fundraising for Democrats certainly has some similarities to film. You often pay a ticket for entry, hope that the candidate becomes a (ballot) box office hit, and you pull for the good guys to win.

Ten years ago, the state of our world was not enough for some voters to become engaged. But today, as he writes in his personal fundraising pitch, Brosnan understands that we can't wait to let the earth die another day.

Susan was critical in our fight to stop the construction of a
dangerous Liquefied Natural Gas terminal off the coast of Malibu and
Oxnard in 2007. In 2008, Susan stopped the construction of a massive
Orange County toll road through San Onofre State Park, the birthplace
of Trestles, a world renown surf spot. Currently, she is fighting to
stop renewed offshore oil drilling off our California coast.

Over the last 15 years, Susan has been a tireless environmental
leader who has taken on the toughest fights in California and won. To
make sure our environment, our communities and our children are
protected, we need her in the California legislature now more than ever.

Democratic candidates need support and they can get that through ActBlue. The idea of setting up your own event or personal fundraising page tomorrow never dies, but there's no reason to delay- click here and get started today!

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ActBlue does not take sides in Democratic primaries. All examples are for illustrative purposes only.

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Since our inception in 2004, ActBlue has combined cutting edge technology, financial economies of scale, and progressive ingenuity into a dynamic online tool that provides Democrats with a lasting electoral competitive edge.

We began by modestly offering all Democrats the ability to raise online funds for the federal candidates of their choice.  By giving every Democrat–not just the most well-funded organizations–an opportunity to publicly quantify and track their fundraising work, we removed a significant barrier of entry into political participation and opened up campaign finance to a new pool of Democratic activists.  Four years later, ActBlue has expanded to be the nation’s largest conduit of funds to candidates–helping both federal and state level groups–with robust organizing tools that let fundraisers and campaigns mange events online, send “spread the word” emails, and track fundraising in increasingly sophisticated ways.  We’re proud of this growth, but we wouldn’t be staying true to our core mission if we didn’t keep building on it to find better technology, better systems, and–ultimately–better deals for Democrats.  That’s why we have an announcement.

To help your Democratic dollar go as far as it possibly can, we’re converting all monetary units on ActBlue to the euro.

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Why Euro?  Why Now?

The euro is a currency in ascendancy.  Since its introduction in 1999, the euro has steadily been growing in world prominence and viability. As our current administration leads the US to economic instability and the dollar continues to plummet in worth, the euro surpasses all other world currencies in circulation and strength.

Noting this trend, we turned a discerning eye on monetary units and realized that by converting your dollars into euros, we could help Democrats reap the biggest benefit  out of each donated amount.

Of course, there are lots of complicated technical and legal permutations going on in the background.  We’re excited to share our findings with you and will be talking more about the details in future weeks.  For today, note the converted monetary amounts on ActBlue.com and be assured that we’re doing all we can to make all your hard fundraising work count at the highest level.  If you have questions or thoughts, let us know at firstofapril@actblue.com and we’ll start the discussion!

Last week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
unveiled phase one of their Red to Blue fundraising campaign, which
focused on raising funds for Democrats running in open districts.  The
DCCC has partnered with ActBlue to raise funds through the Red to Blue fundraising page. Initially eight
candidates were chosen, but the announced retirement of Republican Congressman
Jim Walsh (NY-25) created yet another opportunity for Democratic
victory. 

ActBlue’s
website makes it easy to make immediate changes to any fundraising
page.  Within 24 hours Democratic challenger Dan Maffei was added to
the Red to Blue campaign and its page.  Upon hearing the news Democrats
could immediately go online and take action for Maffei.  As of this
morning 681 ActBlue Democrats have contributed $22,014 to Maffei’s
campaign.   

It’s worth noting that the list of Red to Blue
candidates reads like a virtual Who’s Who of ActBlue stars.  Many of
these candidates had trouble attracting institutional support, but a
strong presence on ActBlue allowed them to build and showcase their
grassroots momentum online.  The Red to Blue Campaign is just one of
hundreds of examples of how ActBlue Democrats are changing the face of
politics across the nation.

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It’s been a while since we’ve pointed out a new page of the week here on the ActBlue Blog (more like page of the month, right?) But I wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Courage Campaign’s fundraising efforts. They are fighting back against a Republican sponsored initiative to split California’s electoral votes in the Presidential Election next year- an initiative that would likely move over 20 electoral votes into the Republican column if approved.

Working in conjunction with the California netroots and other online communities, they launched this “20 for 20″ fundraising campaign. I quote the following from their well laid out page.

One way we’re building netroots infrastructure is by using and
supporting ActBlue, the online community tool that empowers anyone —
individuals, local groups, and national organizations — to fundraise
online for progressive candidates and causes. By contributing 20
dollars to save 20 electoral votes, you can “raise the roots” by
building netroots and grassroots infrastructure — both at Courage and
at ActBlue.

If you can contribute $20 to Courage, please consider giving $2 (a 10% tip) to ActBlue as well on the next page.

In addition, the campaign included this YouTube video on their landing page as well as on their official ActBlue fundraising page. (Maybe they read this blog post about embedding video into fundraising pages- California really has been leading the way with embedded video fundraising asks!) They also encourage others to set up their own fundraising pages to expand the community aspect of the fundraising effort. You can see an assortment of these pages from their ActBlue Hub including this excellent one by Calitics blogger Julia Rosen which includes a great picture and a specific ask- $616.19, which was the cost of the Kinko’s bill for printing out petitions delivered to the Governor’s office.

Update: Let me provide this update to the Courage Campaign’s efforts as they are really leveraging the “user flow” from one action to the next.

Today they launched a web-ad on YouTube and made it part of an online petition which is posted here. When people sign onto it with their name and e-mail address two things happen.

  1. First, they are directed to the 20for20 contribution page on the Courage Campaigns site. If someone is willing to sign on to the petition, they may be willing to donate so it makes sense to ask.
  2. Second, an email thanking you for signing the petition is sent- a best practice that I talked about last week. But on top of that, the Courage Campaign is including an ask for contributions in that e-mail. Great!

Thanks for contacting Arnold.  Maybe this time he will stop parodying the Simpsons and finally start leading.

The
only way we are going to beat back this power grab is with the
progressive community’s hard work, and frankly dollars.  We need the
resources to take this fight to the Arnold and the Republicans and stop
these dirty tricks.

Donate now (http://www.actblue.com/page/couragecampaign)
so Courage Campaign can keep working to defeat this dirty trick
initiative.  We have a lot of great ideas up our sleeves, but need the
resources to make them reality.  Can you help us?

Go here (http://www.actblue.com/page/couragecampaign) to donate to Courage Campaign

Thanks again…

Fundraising requires repetition and a willingness to ask. Smart campaigns should take advantage of this flow of action and make use of each step to maximize their effectiveness like the Courage Campaign appears to be doing here.

One of the keys to successful fundraising is to give potential donors a solid reason for why they should give. Today’s ActBlue Page of the Week is a great example of this.

Check out this Next Generation Democrats fundraising page. Its title? NGD’s "Pay Grant Herring’s Rent" Page.

Included on the page are a couple of good practices.

  • A Clever Title: This engages the donor and the youthful nature fits the page.
  • Contains a Picture: Attractive to the eye, it helps may a direct connection. There is a face behind the words and a sense of connection between the donors and who they are helping.
  • Solid Introductory Text: It explains the Next Generation Democrats primary mission in one sentence. It then explains what a contribution to NGD will be put towards- helping Grant in his paid position as deputy field director for an endorsed campaign.
  • Appropriate Explanatory Text: Included on the page is additional background about who Grant is and why his work is important. Not only are donors giving to support his work, but they are also giving to support the ideals of young progressives being paid in politics.

These elements come together to make a compelling ask that is on message and to the point with minimal clutter.

Check out past ActBlue Pages of the Week.

Recently we talked about County Parties and how ActBlue can help them in many states across the county. We’ve been adding new counties scattered across the county since that post but I wanted to point our a really great success story.

Enter the Hancock County Democratic Committee in Maine. An institution that goes back many years, folks involved with the Party saw our posts and with the help of the writers over at Turn Maine Blue got set up using ActBlue.

What’s more exciting is that they used ActBlue to launch an innovative fundraising pitch for a new bumper sticker they were selling. (kakistocracy meaning "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.")

They set up this ActBlue fundraising page and crossposted it as part of a story that hit the top of the recommended list at Daily Kos. They raised over $225 for their county committee while pushing out a great message (and adding a word that probably did not previously exist in our vocabulary).

So a hat-tip to the Hancock County Democrats in this installment of "Page of the Week". (Yes, we’ll get back to this feature more regularly so it doesn’t turn into Page of the Month.)

This week’s Page of the Week is actually an Event Page. After highlighting some good standards and practices for making use of ActBlue for events in this post on April 16th, we saw the Blue House at the Brew House: McNerney-Brown Blograiser and had to point it out.

Put together by the California Blogosphere, there are a number of successful elements on this page.

  • Graphics: The custom made image at the top of the page catches the eye and re-enforces the event’s purpose.
  • Details: The critical “who, what, when, & where” are all present front and center, set off in a blockquote.
  • Incentives: Reserving tickets online will save you money than waiting to pay at the door! Attendees will get to hang out with a Congressman! There are prizes to be won!  All of these extra bonuses should help seal the deal for the event.

caliticsbluebrewUPDATE: I just noticed that over at Calitics, they have this event posted in the top banner area. Included is the graphic and the basics of the event. This is a really great way to cross-promote the event and brand it visually. I’ve included a screenshot (click to view larger pop-up).

Additionally, I’ve chatted with page creator Julia Rosen who had this to say about Actblue.

ActBlue allowed us to solve a unique problem.  How do we promote and
collect money for an event when the attendees and organizers are coming
in from all over the state?  [With ActBlue] we were able to put all of the information
in the same location that we collected the money.  We plan to print off
the list of donors at the door and will have laptops on hand to
“collect” late donations at the door.  It was an all in one solution,
that worked marvelously to raise several thousand dollars for two great
candidates! -Julia Rosen

This is a post in our series called “Page of the Week.” In it, I’ll be highlighting ActBlue Fundraising pages which the staff likes that also include ideas to improve your fundraising efforts.

Tip: Use Humor

One of the things that can help make an ActBlue fundraising page more successful is to make it catchy and relevant to your audience. While we weren’t sure what to expect when we first saw the Angry Buddhists for Richarson page, the staff was captivated by its clever ‘pitch’.

Greetings Gentle Followers,

It is time to raise more than the change that comes from within and reach for the credit card that comes from the wallet.

I won’t make you roll your eyes by saying that puts the ‘fun’ into fundraising, but remember that humor can spice up your ‘asks’ and make fundraising more personal.

This is our first post in our weekly series called "Page of the Week." In this series, I’ll be highlighting ActBlue Fundraising pages that the staff likes that also include ideas to improve your fundraising efforts.

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